Monday, May 23, 2011

What's in a Name?

One of my favorite parts of gaming is picking my character’s name.  I put a lot of thought into it.  Is this character going to be tough or wimpy?  Is she a butt-kicker or a sweet-talker – or somewhere in between?  Are we talking thief or warrior or mage?  It all goes into it.  I’ve logged hours of real time struggling over this, especially in an MMO setting when you’re going to be tied to that name for years.

I have named my toons after Albanian fascists, epic fantasy villains, and constellations.  A big part of how invested I am in the character is determined by how fitting I find the name.  Currently, I’m playing a shaman in World of Warcraft by the name of Sulaco.  She is named for the space ship in Aliens.  A gal in my guild asked me where I got the name and I told her, and then I asked her where she got hers.  She said, “Oh, it’s a porn star.  All my names are!”  

How do you choose your character names?
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  1. I'm not a gamer but I do like my online name a bunch. I chose Moxie because I liked the definition. (It really doesn't get any nerdier than that.) Webster defines it as:

    1. Energy, pep.
    2. Courage, determination.
    3. Know-how.

    I'll tack on six of 6 depending on what's available on a site as a nod to one of my favorite X-Files episodes, Eve, after it's cloned title character and Lady 3Jane from Neuromancer, another clone. (I've always had a keen interest in clones and twins.)

  2. I usually start off with Caligula. No actual resemblance to the guy, mind. I just like using it in MMO's. If that's not available, I'll try some other Roman emperors, Nero, Tiberius, Claudius... that sort. I just like the feel of roman names and I don't get attached because I usually don't play for that long.

    Pen and paper is custom per character, though. I'll just put something together that sounds right for what I'm making. Tortallian, the somewhat flamboyant rogue. Antonio the upstart gangster. Berry, the brawler/guide/negotiator.

  3. Tortallian sounds like a Roman-era superhero for quesadillas.

  4. It does, and that really makes me want some quesadillas.

  5. I start with Romans and go from there to Greek companions. I name everything. All my devices, characters, toys, even special programs or projects. Tiberius, Magnus to Hephaestion, Bucephalus.

  6. My character names depend on what type of character they are. I do a lot of research to make sure they are not a repeat of something copyrighted. Otherwise I try for something based in myth or to describe their abilities/background.

  7. @Cara: That's interesting.

    I remember reading that a favorite author of mine was absolutely, positively against anyone using her character names in games. Yet her names were things like Sarra or Sioned - 'real' names, or in some cases, borrowed from other books entirely. I found it difficult to sympathize with that.